'Messi Is Not A Leader. He's No Ronaldo'

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"He is one of the big names in Russian Federation who has made a strong start to this World Cup, in terms of goals, with four so far".

The captain of his national team was hardly himself - certainly not the multi-goal scoring savior he was on the final day of qualifying to get his team through.

Argentina will face the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their last Group D match at Russian Federation 2018 World Cup in which a win for them could guarantee their passage to the round of 16.

So far, this tournament has been a huge disappointment for Messi and Argentina, which finished as runner-up at the 2014 World Cup.

Argentina almost missed the World Cup altogether, needing a Messi hat-trick in the final qualifying match just to punch a ticket to Russian Federation.

And his 31st birthday on Sunday only served to highlight how time is running out for Messi to win a major global tournament.

Messi salvaged a disastrous campaign under three different managers with a hat-trick away to Ecuador in the Albiceleste's final qualifier.

"What's happening to the team right now is what has happened to Argentina in these last four disgraceful years: anarchy, no leadership from the players, coaches or directors".

"The relationship with the coach is totally normal", Mascherano said at a news conference in Moscow. "He's a key player, but he's a human being who has his own frustrations".

Messi cut a forlorn figure after the match, but Petit - who was a World Cup victor with France in 1998 - has no sympathy for the experienced ace.

In the 1-1 draw against.

Simeone's sensational tirade, reported to be an audio message sent on mobile platform WhatsApp to Atletico assistant coach and former Argentina goalkeeper German Burgos, emerged hours after Argentina's heaviest defeat in a World Cup group stage since 1958.

"It is the most critical situation I have experienced, along with the Ecuador game", said Argentina midfielder Lucas Biglia on Sunday.